Underthecurrent


forever young
March 30, 2010, 4:39 am
Filed under: when I grow up

Tonight I went to a birthday party for a mid-twenties realtor I know. I figured, low key Monday night, get in, get out.

When I got there, I knew a few people from the way back but ended up at a table full of strangers. They were awkward, albeit funny with not yet formed manners. This should have been a giveaway.

One asked what I did, so I told him, which is something I do now because it’s increasingly likely I’ll get busted if I don’t. We talked a bit before it became apparent – he was in first year university! And living in residence! I was sitting at the kids table!

I was dressed in a cartoonish tshirt I like, jeans and these awesome comfortable moccasins. It took him a solid ten minutes of conversation to process what I had said, and he went back and asked if I was still in school. And then he asked how old I was. I didn’t ask how old he was because I’m a little quicker on the draw I guess. He told me about how awesome his particular dorm room was (a double, but bigger, and they had pushed their beds flush against the walls for maximum floor space), and how his roommate clearly didn’t trust him first semester but now they were good friends.

I wholly embraced the kids table and sort of egged them on to tell more “I cried and then I threw up” stories. I could tell I was making the three guys nervous. Eventually, one of them blurted into a conversational ebb:

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

Yes, I said. Then they asked if I was married or engaged. I waved my fingers. Nice kids. I bought my friend a birthday shot and left before anyone cried or threw up.



Dunbar’s Number(s)
March 28, 2010, 9:59 pm
Filed under: nomadisms, when I grow up

“I’m still in love with you.”
“I know.”

Part of knowing someone is knowing who they know.

Last night, bottle of cheap red, offsale, slice of pizza, doing nothing in the apartment nook, with the windows wide open, spring air. Graceland remastered.

*

Procrastination. Next week could be a hell week, many things due, lots of interruptions, lack of co-operation from those seeking help. Friday was sort of a preview and I swore I would be in all weekend but have thus far avoided it, stretching into 3:30 pm Sunday afternoon. I’m making soup with pierogie dumpings and then I promise I am heading out to get some fresh air and wind up at the office to knock some things off the to-do list.

Have figured out.
1) I want to work with people.
2) I like shorter projects better than long term.
3) I want work to be, mostly, temporally restricted. As in, I don’t like jobs that require me to think about work in my off hours unless I want to, I don’t like constant residual guilt and am succeptible to it.
3(b) I realize this is impossible during skill-growth periods. But that is a different category.
4) I don’t ascribe to any of the values held by most people in my profession and having to pretend I do is wasted energy that could be spent on something else.
4(b) Community and values are exceedingly important to do most things long term. For me.
5) I do like the pressure that is forcing me to develop skills I didn’t know I had in me. I have learned things in the past six months I would not otherwise have picked up which will be useful in the future. I don’t think the changes over the past six months have been negative.
6) Finding mentorship that you can respect is hard but necessary to figure out where to go next.
7) I’m still learning a lot from people I don’t respect or want to emulate, but it’s not the preferable way to do things.



March 27, 2010, 9:29 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

streaming: beach house

We found the chair outside the back door. It’s sort of ugly and very heavy, ciggarette burn on one arm, maybe thirty or forty years old by now. I don’t know how I will get it out of the apartment alone. As it unthawed I was concerned it would smell bad and monitored accordingly. The thing is, it reclines. Sort of a first phase junior recline, footrest out, still more or less sitting, as implied by the all wood side lever. But with more time I have discovered a new level. It kicks back like a comfortable dentist’s chair, and in fact you can move comfortably horizontal by just stretching out. It is the finest furniture I have ever owned, including my pillow top queen size, and now the chair and I spend glorious hours together, you know, just hanging out. I’m going to rearrange my living room furniture around it today, allowing for maximum contact in activities. We only have five more months together.

Lately I’m craving vices, just for the distraction and chemicals. Even the natural lust related ones. I miss drunk ciggarettes and making out. I even miss being vaguely stoned and cleaning my house or eating some monster of a burger. I’m a lot more productive in my normal, non chemically enhanced life when I spend my weekends rearranging the synapses, I think.

The shift. One of the things I’ve noticed, when I’m away, is I don’t think about what I’ll do when I get back. There’s no list of foods to eat, comforts missed, or the frustrations that will end on return to wherever home is. When we worked at summer camp we fantasized about getting outside comforts. Better food, nicer showers, television or other media, privacy. I don’t really know where that list has gone and why it doesn’t matter anymore and why my standards of comfort can be so easily lowered and varied. At some point, I feel like I just let go of something, and it’s never come back.

I remember when I first really left, I would find things to replicate what I missed at home. I made cabbage rolls for my roommates and found jars of maple syrup for my own North American style pancake mix because no restaurant could get breakfast the way I wanted. I found a place that would give me coffee to go in a little paper cup and a shop that gave up slow wifi to my ibook with a little configuring. Resistance and carved out areas of familiarity.

Then, maybe, the unfamiliar became comfortable. I didn’t adopt things as done there, to cope, like some of my roommates, subbing in one culture for another entirely. Instead I just started to find things I liked wherever, almost out of context, and enjoying strangeness.

I am sort of worried that strangeness has become my familiarity and wonder what consequences this may have.



recents
March 22, 2010, 3:49 am
Filed under: insight, popconsumption, unrelated thoughts, voyageur

I am trying to get the next good idea into my head.

This is going to sound very Vegan Shoes and Incense, or worse, like a vision board, but I have figured out how my life works: I think about something I might want, really want, more or less forget about it, then unconsciously move towards it, accomplish it and wake up to find fragments of it as part of my past. Foreshadowed. I suck at goals and have found that goal setting is, for me, a recipe for disaster, even in small increments like to-do lists. On a day to day basis, I often feel like an unproductive failure because I can’t do this. I’m reasonably sure my mind only works in the meta, for curious psychological and intellectual reasons.

I’m trying to get the idea of What Could Come Next into my head. The place I am at now happened purely because I met a couple of people in school to do what I do and recognized it as an option. It had never occurred to me, and it certainly wasn’t the childhood goal it was for a serious number of my classmates. I didn’t do it for prestige or because my parents made me, I did it because once I knew where to look the opportunity was obvious and Just Showed Up.

I’m finding it difficult because I can’t see anyone leading parts of the, assumingly productive, life I want to lead yet. I know I’m in the wrong geographical location for this, for various reasons. It may also be that I can’t see what’s already sunk in, that the reason this time feels so hard is because it’s a period of processing.

*

It still freezes at night.

*

I am following this and find it entertaining. It sort of makes me want to ride a bus through central America…



it was…real.
March 21, 2010, 1:40 am
Filed under: insight

Errands find me around campus, kids are stretched out everywhere. I’m pleased they put benches in my favorite gallery and that people use them freely. Someone sleeps. Another person tutors an exchange student in conversational English. The air is warmer than I thought it would be and the music shuffling slots in one great song after the next. The long way home leads past my favorite apartment, that grocery store, houses of friends, places where things happened. I start to wander purposefully, just to see how it will feel to see these landmarks on a day like today.

2003-2008 was such an intense time that I often forget my own stories from it and when I start to remember them I feel really… lucky. I’ve probably had more fun, random awesomeness, epic romance, adventure, and education than anyone deserves.

To unfairly and incorrectly paraphrase Maya Angelou, it’s not the things done, or the things said, it’s the way they made you feel.

(Incidentally, someone once paraphrased that same quotation for me at a bar and it sort of changed my life, though the exact source of the advice is lost to time, I attribute it in my mind to an American war journalist who had just come from Iraq when I met him)

In the past (almost) two years, if the start of June is the marker, I’ve tried, sort of, to lead a normal life, or what I imagine a lot of other lives of people my age around here must be like. Life as an ordinary, visible, productive member of the community.

I don’t really get it and it feels like a lot of work all the time to pretend that I do. I also don’t really mesh with Normal people because when we are hanging out I am trying to think of normal things to talk about and mostly feel like a robot alien. I sort of hate small talk, and it’s psuedo-intellectual cousin, political debate. I want to hear people speak with emotion, even just plain happiness or anger, to talk about what makes them think and feel. I like humor and being around people who facilitate my own humor, the give and go. I want to know about things that I don’t that are new or different or interesting. I want the moments we are with each other to feel real, and alive, even if it’s hungover brunch or an exhausted post-work beverage. I want vulnerability and honesty. Risk.

Maybe it’s because I know from those years that being around those kinds of things leads to growth and change and perspective, and I’m not ready to be done with that yet.

Last night, in our conversation, I talked with him about how hard it is to not tell people anything about my life right now. I don’t talk about being in love with a crazy man who can’t sit still and sometimes wears viking horns over skype for my amusement, or what I want my life to be like in a year, or all the friends I’ve met along the way doing strange and wonderful things across the world.

Today is the first day of Spring.



and I don’t want to be alone.
March 20, 2010, 7:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

He is waking up as I prepare to go to sleep, there’s a symmetry. He describes how the shore looks and asks if I can hear it. I pretend I can even if it’s mostly distortion.

These voices travel over a couple of oceans, maybe under them, it’s hard to say.

Talking about the mundane, everything, acknowledging that right now the biggest factor in being dissatisfied is being apart, for both of us. This, as a commitment phobic colossal overthinker, is a tough call to bank.

Distance is convenient only for those who want to be distant. As the master of long distance relating, a far flung port of call had up sides. Lack of interference in daily life, ample space, ability to shave or not shave one’s legs freely. Right now the same distance has no appeal, regardless of how it’s cast. It sucks.

I’m acquiring this movie as these words are processed based purely on the preview and being overly idealistic in the middle of the night.



from away
March 17, 2010, 4:44 am
Filed under: nomadisms

Today I went to a small town, north. I wrote longhand notes about what was going on around me, it was so good, a strange paid vacation. Listened to conversations, observed people living slowed down lives.

The guy who worked at the bus station also works at the movie theatre and knew exactly how many people bought tickets for the show last night (17) and talked about playing crib with his coworker because it was so slow. He remembered me from the morning when I showed up and asked how long it took me to get where I was going.

My first impression was a brief fear the town had no sidewalks and that I would have to trek alongside highways in the ditch. This turned out to be only five minutes and soon I’d hit a bungalow paradise with toys in front yards and seniors compounds flanked by short buses matching the trim on the downsized apartments. Land of the Legion. You could rent the Legion for a wedding for $250, that seems like a fairly good deal. Along my walk most of the other pedestrians were white haired women, some with groceries, others with walkers, testing out the warm. The RCMP were raiding a house with boarded windows and had three young men outside but everyone just carried on so it seemed the neighborhood was safe enough.

The girl who served me dinner was all of sixteen but perfect at her job. Warm, polite, water filled on cue. No charge for gravy and appreciation for a good tip. The best service in… years. While I was eating two nuns came in and two other elderly ladies invited them to join them, seemingly as strangers. The whole restaurant felt suprisingly communal and warm, even for someone dining alone for an hour. Across, a very young man had dinner with a relative, maybe his seven year old son, the kid was dressed in fleecy blue camo suit, two pieces of tough-looking fuzz that someone had painstakingly sewn.

The town is famous for hockey players, mostly, kids who make it to the show. They have so many they appear to avoid putting up billboards anymore. It’s also a rare, open racial blending point. The kids are mixed and the friends the kids have are visibly mixed, get into a conversation and almost everyone in the area has a different colored grandparent and multi-hued cousins. It’s funny how non-apparent racialization is until visiting a place where, for whatever reason, it exists less.

Coffee at Tim Hortons, I found myself surrounded by young men, high school aged, after class with friends. Talking like sixteen year old guys do, sort-of-stilted repeated jokes, sometimes mentions of girls, self conscious. They already had that small town swagger, powerful shoulders. I had forgotten what guys that age sound like, the ones removed from rap-script bravado and well trained proficiency. Hearing it led to insights about being that age, in a town where people go hang out at fast food joints after school with friends before heading to part time jobs, for lack of other options.

I am a small town pastorialist.

Verified google street view remains notoriously unreliable. Which sort of makes the adventure aspect still exciting.

Recognition, again, today, that a new goal is to work with people not paper.

The air outside right now is perfect, rare for these parts. Moist, warmed up, still. Spring, maybe.